The stage was set on Saturday for the 14th edition of the Showcase Showdown but somebody left the fog machine running.
Still, the organizers managed to get through two heats and into the finals, where after close to an hour of delays, they managed to get all the finalists through one complete run. The second run was cancelled.
Pitted against Craig Beaulieu and Dave Fortin, who have won nearly every local contest in recent years - as well as a strong core of locals in the top 10, including Andre Benoit, Adam Chuntz, Geoffrey Brown, Jason Wexler, Jesse Millen, Aaron Johnson and David Kinskofer - 15-year-old Mt. Washington rider Darcy Sharpe came up with the win and $2,000 in prize money. Beaulieu and Fortin were second and third, winning $1,000 and $500 respectively. Andrew Benoit won a Samsung Galaxy tablet for the best tweak over the gap jump.
For Sharpe, who lives in Whistler where he trains with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, it was a bit of a surprise.
"I didn't really expect that but I'm pumped on it for sure," he said.
His final run started off with a 270 spin onto the box, a 450 spin off, then a switch backside 1080 over the gap. On the quarterpipe he cleared the wall and landed a nice transfer over the middle kicker.
As for how he stayed focused during the fog delay, he said he was used to it.
"I'm from Mt. Washington, and it's always foggy there with bad weather, so I'm used to it. I'm used to (spinning off) smaller jumps, which I think helped as well."
Sharpe is looking forward to The Show: A Snowboarding Contest, a four-day event which will be taking place during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival in April.
There was also an upset in the women's contest, with Claudia Avon taking first place and $750, followed by last year's champion, Molly Milligan and Breanna Strangeland.
Like Sharpe, Avon wasn't expecting to win, but had a solid run in the final with a strong frontside 540 over the middle jump. "I was able to land it cleanly, and I think that helped me out a bit," she said.
Between runs she stayed warm by listening to music and socializing with the other riders. She also liked the course and felt confident even though the visibility was poor.
"The course was super fun and the jumps were really nice so I wasn't nervous," she said. "It's a good environment, it's not stressful and you hang out all day with cool people. It was really fun."
Avon doesn't know if she'll be around for The Show, but if she's in town she might take part.
Presented by Burton, the Showdown's theme this year was football and the Superbowl Slopestyle, complete with referees, cheerleaders (until they left during the fog delay), a Vans-sponsored waffle breakfast, a Forum-sponsored barbecue and the thirtytwo Tail Gate Party at Merlin's.
Showcase Showdown Men
1. Darcy Sharpe - 27.2
2. Craig Beaullieu - 26.2
3. Dave Fortin - 25.1
Showcase Showdown Women
1. Claudia Avon - 23.0
2. Molly Milligan- 21.4
3. Breanna Strangeland - 20.0
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